Previewing the MSU Offense

GoBlueWolverine's Josh Turel breaks down the Michigan State offense by analyzing the Spartan personnel.

Team Ranks
Total Offense: 2nd, 2,166 yards, 433 yards per game
Scoring Offense: 2nd, 22 touchdowns, 174 points
Rushing Offense: 1st, 1,104 yards, 220.8 yards per game
Passing Offense: 4th, 1,062 yards, 212.4 yards per game
Sacks Against: 10th, 11 sacks for 72 yards per game
Red Zone Offense: 1st, 21 of 22, 95.5% scoring

Statitstical Leaders:
Drew Stanton: 81 of 128 for 935 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions

Javon Ringer (injured): 61 carries for 438 yards and one touchdown
Drew Stanton: 62 carries for 278 yards and three touchdowns
Jehuu Caulcrick: 50 carries for 260 yards and five touchdowns

Kerry Reed: 22 catches for 302 yards and four touchdowns
Matt Trannon: 21 catches for 213 yards and two touchdowns

Offensive Strategy:

We will have a further breakdown of the schemes tomorrow, but for now, just know that this is a typical Michigan State offense. You will see plenty of three, four, and five wide sets both from the shotgun and under center. The loss of running back Javon Ringer will severely impact the play calling because he was a big key in their option and screen pass attack. The Spartans will still use runs with quarterback Drew Stanton and the four wide, shotgun formation is their preferred formation to run their talented QB from. Within the multiple wide receiver sets you will see different types of alignments; strong slots, bunch formation and stacked receiver formations etc. The basic concept of their passing game is to stretch the defense to cover the entire field, then find mismatches within those zones. Keep an eye on how Michigan adjusts to spread packages. With the lack of depth at cornerback, which combinations will we see? It is something the Michigan State offensive staff will be looking to exploit. Around the goaline expect to see a three tight end set with tight end Kellen Davis to one side with reserves Dwayne Holmes and Eric Andino stacked to other. The Spartans always have something up their sleeve in terms of trick plays as well. Don’t be surprised to see a wide receiver pass or slot receiver Jerramy Scott taking snaps at quarterback.


#5 Drew Stanton  6-3, 230, Sr.
#7 Brian Hoyer  6-2, 210, So.

Running Back
#30 Jehuu Caulcrick  6-0, 260, Jr.
#20 A.J. Jimmerson  5-10, 205, Fr.

With Drew Stanton coming off an injury to Illinois last week and running back Javon Ringer knocked out for the rest of the season, the backfield is reeling a bit. Ringer is a huge loss to the Spartans.  Not only is he a big time running threat out of the backfield, but he also the key piece in their screen and option game. Jehuu Caulcrick will now take over the starting role for the Spartans and brings a power running style to the fold. He doesn’t have much quickness or make-you-miss type ability, but when he gets going at full speed, he is tough to bring down. Reserve AJ Jimmerson is an interesting blend of size and athleticism; he is sure to get some carries Saturday as well and will likely be utilized on some of the plays that were intended for Ringer.

Drew Stanton has been on the hot seat in East Lansing along with John L. Smith. The high profile quarterback has been turnover prone and inaccurate over the last two weeks. He clearly hasn’t been himself, but part of that is likely due to a lack of pass protection.  The pressure has really forced him to make quick decisions and ultimately has led to his poor play. Stanton is better running the MSU offense out of the shotgun than under center and is like a second running back on the field within the offense. If given time, he is a quality passer.  However, as was said earlier, he doesn’t make good decisions when hurried and may not be 100% coming off the Illinois game (rib unjury). Backup Brian Hoyer has good arm strength and seemed to have a solid grasp of the offense working backup duty last week. Hoyer should be able to do a respectable job if called on to replace Stanton.


X Wide Receiver
#6 Matt Trannon  6-6, 235, Sr.
#12 T.J. Williams  6-3, 184, Fr.
Z Wide Receiver
#15 Kerry Reed  6-2, 198, Sr.
#10 Devin Thomas  6-2, 217, So.
Slot Wide Receiver
#32 Jerramy Scott  5-10, 186, Sr.
#18 Terry Love  5-11, 177, Jr.
Tight End
#80 Kellen Davis  6-6, 253, Jr.
#81 Dwayne Holmes  6-0, 277, So.
#48 Eric Andino  6-4, 233, Jr.

This has been a somewhat disappointing group considering the amount of experience here. The one constant has been Kerry Reed, who has proven to be the Spartans most reliable receiver so far. Reed has a nice frame, good all around athletic ability, and has been able to consistently get open.  Matt Trannon wasn’t 100 percent and didn’t play a great deal against Illinois.  Even so, Trannon needs to start exerting himself. The 6-7 pass-catcher has playmaking ability, but fades out of the game for long stretches. Slot receiver Jerramy Scott is undersized option in the passing game that hasn’t been called as much as in past seasons. He has contributed 14 catches and 184 yards thus far. Watch for true freshman T.J Williams to make an impact. Williams filled in well for Matt Trannon last game and should see time in expanded wide receiver sets. Speedsters Terry Love and Devin Thomas make up the key reserves for the unit.

Tight end Kellen Davis is a solid receiving option, but hasn’t been a large part of the offense yet. Davis has five catches for 48 yards and one touchdown thus far. The main area of improvement for him is run blocking. While Davis shows pretty good technique and ability, he needs to develop a tougher mentality and show more effort in blocker. Reserves Dwayne Holmes and Eric Andino are usually used in run blocking situations, which is their strength.

Offensive Linemen

Left Tackle
#66 Mike Gyetvai  6-7, 307, Jr.
#57 Rocco Cironi  6-6, 288, Fr.
Left Guard
#74 Kyle Cook  6-3, 295, Sr.
#54 John Masters  6-4, 296, Jr.

#71 Kenny Shane  6-5, 312, Jr.
#54 John Masters  6-4, 296, Jr.

Right Guard
#73 Roland Martin  6-5, 325, So.
#77 Daniel Zynn  6-2, 317, Sr.

Right Tackle
#79 Jesse Miller  6-6, 306, So.
#64 Brendon Moss  6-6, 289, Fr.
The strength of this line is run blocking. The spread system gets them on the move and opens up natural running lanes for the backs. That being said, if the offense is going to progress, this groups needs to pass protect better. The Illinois defense, which usually struggles with getting a pass rush, was able to dismantle the Spartan line last week. The line should be helped by the expected return of Kenny Shane to center. If Shane is unable to go, expect to see John Masters at center again. Masters has started in place of Shane already this season.

The guards are pretty solid, with Roland Martin and Kyle Cook manning those spots. Martin is a massive sized guard who works better in small areas.  Meanwhile, the Spartans like to use Cook as a pulling guard for inside plays which he has been effective with. Tackle Mike Gyetvai has struggled with pass protection at times this season and will need to bring his best stuff against an aggressive Michigan defensive line. Gyetvai needs to play with a better base, clean up his footwork, and fight off defenders better with his hands to prevent them from beating him on the rush. Right tackle Jesse Miller has the frame,mobility, and arm length to develop into a top notch pass blocker one day. He has been pretty decent thus far, but he doesn’t have the playing strength of a top tackle yet.

The Michigan Insider Top Stories